How to Write Better College Essays

As college admissions become more and more difficult and applicants become more and more qualified, the college essay gains clout as a vital part of the application process. An outstanding personal essay, no matter how long, is sometimes the deciding factor for a prospective student. But it's not enough to show proficiency with the written word -- at least not anymore. Today's personal essays revolve around the sense of personality and style gleaned from each sentence, and it's your responsibility to harness those elements. The following tips will get you on your way to the acceptance pile.


The most important part of a college essay writing paper is the actual topic, so you need plenty of time to mull over the choices. You'll want something interesting, but not clich̩ significant but not trite. Consider the following questions during your brainstorming process:

1. What distinguishes you from others in your age group? Any special skills, talents, interests or attributes?

2. Have you engaged yourself in a fierce struggle for something? Did you succeed or fail? What have you learned?

3. What are your most concrete goals for the future? Where do want to be in 20 years and how will you get there?

4. What or who has been influential in your life? How or why?


Though it's tempting to ramble through your whole life story in a college essay, be careful to keep your topic narrowed. Write one sentence (a thesis, in a sentence) that sums up the point of your entire essay, and make each paragraph support that one sentence. Try not to get too lofty with your concept; find the point and stick to it.


The opening paragraph is your first (and sometimes only) chance to grab firmly the attention of admission officials, so don't create a lazy intro that simply sums up what you'll discuss. Be vivid, clear and original; try piquing their interest with an anecdote or poignant question. Give your intro an element of mystery and intrigue -- really make the reader want to read more. This could be the most important paragraph in the essay, so devote plenty of time to crafting this well.

Essay Writing

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